Requirements of the major

Students in the Class of 2017 and previous classes may fulfill the requirements of the Humanities major that were in place when they entered the major, as described in previous editions of this bulletin.

Requirements of the major for the Class of 2018 and subsequent classes 
Fourteen term courses are required for the major, including three “foundations ” surveys, two core seminars, one course in each of four areas of study in the humanities, four additional electives selected to complement the student’s area of concentration (with approval of the director of undergraduate studies), and a one- or two-term senior essay. Majors in Humanities are strongly encouraged to enroll in at least one term course in literature in a foreign language.

Students are expected to declare their intent to major in Humanities in a meeting with the director of undergraduate studies before their junior year. Students should use this worksheet to map out their plans of study in the major: record of study form doc. and pdf.

Three broad surveys of foundational works in any cultural tradition are required; one or two of these foundations courses must be in the classical tradition of Western Europe.

Core seminars 
The major requires two core seminars, one in “Modernities” and one in “Interpretations.” Each core seminar is taught by a pair of faculty members from complementary disciplines. The two broad themes of the seminars remain consistent from year to year, but the material studied and the faculty members teaching change, allowing each class of students to explore the themes in different ways.

Areas of study in the humanities 
One course is required in each of four areas: literature; visual, musical, or dramatic arts; science in the humanities; and intellectual history and historical analysis. These courses may be drawn from any department or program in Yale College, with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies.

Students select four courses to explore a chosen area of specialization in depth. Courses may be drawn from any departments or programs in Yale College, with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies.

Capstone Project 
Students must write a senior essay, and are encouraged to consider writing a two-semester essay.